Wednesday, 30 June 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans 

The Bayraktar Akıncı is set to introduce a number of novel capabilities to the field of unmanned aerial warfare when it enters service with the Turkish Air Force later this year. These include several features not seen on any other type of UAV in the world before, most notably the ability to launch 250+km-ranged high-precision cruise missiles and beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs) at targets as far as 100 kilometres away. These capabilities in practice turn the Akıncı into the first production multi-role unmanned combat aircraft in the world, and set the stage for increasingly effective replication of legacy aerial assets by unmanned counterparts.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans 
 
The United States' controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan has left it teetering at the edge of an abyss as the country is facing a nationwide Taliban resurgence. Amidst an increasingly deteriorating security situation throughout large parts of the country, fears that Taliban forces could soon overrun the entirety of Afghanistan have become all too real, possibly reverting the situation on the ground back to that before the 2001 U.S. invasion in the long term. While the withdrawal of U.S. troops and their NATO allies has been praised by some and heavily criticised by others, there is one thing seemingly everyone can agree on: the 20-year U.S.-led mission to defeat the Taliban has been an utter failure.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Baykar Savunma recently drew attention after a Latvian delegation headed by Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks paid an official visit to the producer of the Bayraktar TB2 and Akıncı UCAVs. With Latvia and the two other Baltic states of Estonia and Lithuania continuing to build up a deterrent capacity and viable wartime capabilities against possible future Russian (military) interference in the Baltic region of Europe, interest in a low-cost unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capability spurred on by the huge successes obtained by the TB2 over Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh is perhaps little surprising.

Monday, 14 June 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Ukrainian-delivered armament is prevalent in the inventories of numerous militaries across the world, and the country remains a go-to source for nations that seek to revitalise their militaries on a budget. Having inherited vast numbers of surplus armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), aircraft and naval vessels, and equally important, a military industry to support this equipment with overhauls and upgrades, Ukrainian weaponry has proved especially popular with nations in Africa and Asia. For these reasons, the Ukrainian military-industrial complex has concentrated much of its efforts on catering specifically to this export market.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
 
Turkey is emerging as an increasingly important actor in world politics, taking on an assertive international role and with it a growing political weight. Accompanying the country's rise as an emerging power has been a vast expansion of its fleet of VIP aircraft for use by government officials. These often majestic-looking aircraft are a symbol of status that is meant to signify Turkish power and prestige home and abroad. Undoubtedly the most imposing aircraft is the single Boeing 747-8I Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) that has been in service with the Turkish Presidential Fleet since September 2018.

Monday, 7 June 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans 
 
Relegated to the annals of history by the most of the world since roughly 1918, the YPG on the other hand remains an active user of so-called Sturmpanzers: uparmoured infantry support platforms that hearken back to their Second World War namesakes. Bulky and monstrous in appearance, these vehicles have begun to symbolise the YPG's resistance against Islamic State and Free Syrian Army forces that sought to dislodge the YPG from the territory it holds in Northern Syria on numerous occasions. While the presence of these DIY monstrosities in the ranks of the YPG is well-acknowledged, little attempts have been made at inventorising the types of Sturmpanzers in servicec. Thus, this article is long overdue.